Monday, August 23, 2010

Stop the World! I Wanna Get Off!

Well, my first week as a 37 year-old woman has left me a little shell-shocked. After my wonderful birthday, things went just a teensy bit downhill.

Last Monday, I had to take Firstborn to the Children's Hospital in the big city for a full day of developmental-type assessments. When Rosemary's Baby's pediatrician suggested I have that done "just to see", I thought the whole thing was a bit silly. Firstborn is doing better than well in school, has a nice tight-knit little group of friends, and aside from a few mild tantrums of late (school starts up again in 2 weeks--isn't this happening to ALL parents right now?!), he has really given us no reason to worry. But he does have some odd little quirks, and I wasn't going to pass up the chance to hit the city for a bit of shopping, so we made a day of it.

The neuro-development specialist started out by playing some games with him and asking him questions while I filled out several reams of paperwork. When she asked him to tell her how he'd know he felt happy (I don't even know how to answer that, but I think the stock answer they get is something like "I feel good"), he stopped to think about it for a minute, then answered, "Well, first I'd take my finger and I'd trace over my mouth. If I was smiling, I'd know I was happy!" Pretty logical, no?! Well, a few more of these meanderings down the road less traveled is how my kid ended up with a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome!

It turns out that even if a kid is very functional in his life in general, if that kid happens to have enough little quirky qualities that fall just outside what's considered normal, he can in fact land himself at the mild end of the autism spectrum. So now I have TWO kids on the spectrum. And I'm kind of wondering if the Captain and I should have ourselves looked at!

I know this sounds rather serious, but I'm choosing to take it in stride. This diagnosis is very different from what we're dealing with with Rosemary's Baby, who needs significant intervention just to learn to speak. Back in MY day (heh heh), the adults in Firstborn's life would consider him a bit nerdy or eccentric, shrug their shoulders and move on. Today we say he has a "disorder". Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have this information because now I know what to look out for if he starts to run into problems, and we can get him help. But looking at my relatively normal (if slightly weird) kid, I can certainly understand why some high-functioning adults with autism might argue that their condition is not a disorder, it's a difference.

Okay, climbing down off my soap box now, because on Wednesday, things got worse!

Rosemary's Baby has been on a wait-list for pediatric allergy testing for 11 months and finally last week, he got his appointment. The good news is that the allergist found no environmental allergies, so the pets won't have to be sent off to the hot dog factory just yet. The bad news is that he suspects possible Celiac Disease. This, in itself, came as no surprise whatsoever. I've mentioned before that we've seen benefits by removing gluten from Rosemary's Baby's diet (and I promise to go into this in detail at some point in the near future, since a few of you have asked about it). We also have a bit of gastrointestinal difficulty in some of the men on my side of the family. So I wouldn't be surprised at all if this is what's happening. But in order to confirm that this is the case, I have to undo 11 months of really hard work by reintroducing gluten to his diet for the next seven weeks. And at the end of that nightmare, he might still get a negative result. Bye-bye, sanity!

And finally, it's the great tomato blight of 2010! I had to go out and pull up a dozen dead tomato plants from our garden yesterday. That makes up about half of our tomato crop. It seems to be happening to all of our neighbours too, so I can only guess that the weird weather here hasn't helped matters. I've salvaged what I can of the rotting green tomatoes, but it'll definitely be a smaller haul this year. Here's a look at the aftermath:

That gaping hole of red plastic is where all the dead plants were. Boo hoo!

Lest you think I'm a complete tale of woe, something fun did happen this week as well. While the tomatoes fought a losing battle against the elements, the pumpkins have spread themselves all over the garden, and one has already even started turning orange!

I foresee a lot of jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin bread this fall!

I've also forayed into the world of green tomato recipes and tonight I'll be trying an insane thing called green tomato raspberry jam. Even if it turns out to be horrible, I'll have a good story to tell. Wish me luck!

Happy Monday!


Deb Neerman said...

OmiLord, if it's not one thing, it's your mother!

You appear to be enjoying (?) the worst. week. ever.

I guess it's good you have a diagnosis ... maybe extra funding/grant/school/educational funds will be available ... and, as you mention, you'll know what to do when 'x-y-z' happens. And they prolly won't have to do any military service ... that's good news for Mom, maybe not so much for the Captain.

Dang, doesn't all this make you just wanna bang your head against a wall? Better not, though ... they'll "label" you and stick you on a psych ward ...

Keep smilin', Kiddo ... onward.

Sending hugs!!

Melanie Jane said...

Some of the most amazing human beings in the world, some of the worlds most humanitarian, most wealthy, most notable, and some quirky in fact carry that label. happen to know 20 or thirty myself -- and let me tell you quirky is good :)

Pumpkin pancakes are fantastic -- enjoy the harvest... you have the right attitude that is for sure!

Linda said...

Well, you have certainly had an information-filled week! As a member of a family who has many quirky members, I wish you well. I agree, "different" doesn't necessarily mean a disorder; it may just mean the path may be a little bumpier than usual. And maybe more interesting!


Ok...Put your "Game Face" on and press onward! So you have two children, and might I just add, two beautiful children...who have labels. Diagnosis is a good thing, however, don't dwell on it! Quirky is not a bad thing and can lead to many wonderful experiences in life. Some of the most amazing people have been labeled and quess what; it didn't slow them down one bit! Hang in there girl.....take care of those boys, and save a little time for YOU. Most improtantly, just take time to B-r-e-a-t-h-e!

Janine said...

Wendy!! If anyone can handle this YOU can!!!
Now where is that gin and tonic??

Multi-Ainjo said...

Oh green tomato raspberry jam, it sounds so awful it might actually be nummy.

I am jealous of your garden, it looks just lovely.

And I also wonder about the 'disorder' tag. I know a few as they say 'high functioning autistics' and I would never say they have a 'disorder'. But I also know that I don't really have a say in it, not living with it myself. So I will submit to whatever people want to me to call them.

Suburban Princess said...

By that definition we should all be diagnosed on the spectrum.

Who doesn't have quirks? I can spot a picture that is tilted even a milimeter! I can't stand a messy bookshelf! I like all the cans facing english side forward and on a quiet day will make sure they are in alphabetical order!

If this was my child...I might consider just living my life and keeping the drs out of it - there's no need to define a child so young.

Dimple said...

You said tests, and I thought Asperger's. My son is in that group, too.
Getting Firstborn some help, like training in social skills, is a good idea. My son suffered from being bullied and from teachers not realizing that his quirky behavior was not daydreaming or disruptive. Social skill training would have helped him, I think. But if they recommend drugs, go somewhere else!

Papertrails by a paper lover said...

What a coincidence that I found your blog! As soon as I started reading the day you had at the doctor's I was certain you were going to type he was on the spectrum because I have a child with the same diagnosis. His response was brilliant! I also agree we all have our quirks and could all be defined as an "Aspie" these days. I actually love that my daughter is not of the norm. Who wants that? ;-) Anyhow, you are not alone and wanted to say something since we are both Mom's with Aspie children.

Cooking Mama said...

Sending the pets off the the hotdog factory . . .you're killing me!!

On a serious note, I know what you mean about the diagnoses these days. My youngest has auditory processing disorder and who knows what else. I was so tired of dealing with "specialists", therapies, and IEP's at school that we finally took him out and now I'm homeschooling him. He's learning a lot better these days and isn't getting plucked from class continually (or from life in general for that matter) for speech therapy, occupational therapy and resource time. He's a normal kid with friends who adore him for who he is.